Won-jun Choi (29, Dusan Bears) returned to the mound with a clean bill of health, only to be disappointed again.
Choi started the 2023 KBO League regular season away game against the NC Dinos at Changwon NC Park on Friday, but struggled mightily, giving up seven runs on seven hits (one home run) with three walks and two strikeouts in three innings.His season ERA jumped from 4.89 to 5.81.
Choi has been Doosan’s go-to starting ace for the past three years. With 30 wins in three years, including a 10-2 record in 2020, he was Doosan’s most reliable option on the mound.메이저사이트
This season was different. He started the season on a good pace, but luck didn’t follow. The bad luck followed and his performance began to deteriorate. After posting a 2.88 ERA until April 23, he gave up six runs (five earned) against the SSG Landers on April 29, and continued to struggle in May with a 6.10 ERA. Eventually, Lee removed him from the first team roster on May 30 after giving up four runs against the Changwon NC. He was told to find his groove in the second team.
“I hope Choi Won-jun is in good shape,” Lee said to the media before his start on May 15. However, when he returned to Changwon after two weeks, he didn’t look much different than he did two weeks ago.
It was similar to his May form, when he was hampered by long balls. In the first inning, Son As-seob led off with a single and Park Min-woo walked. He struck out the next batter, Park Gun-woo, to get out of the jam, but then gave up a leadoff double to Jason Martin. Martin took a slider into the strike zone for a solo home run.
The second inning was a one-hitter, but the bats came out in force again in the third. This time, he couldn’t get past the NC tablesetter. Facing Choi Won-jun for the second time, Son As-seob led off with a double. Choi Won-joon threw him five pitches in a row, and he familiarized himself with them. He followed that up with three straight strikes against Park Min-woo, who was unforgiving of a near-pitch and drove it in for a run.
He then got two outs and seemed to have the game under control, but the runs came back. Choi Won-jun gave up a single to Kim Sung-wook two batters later, followed by a double steal. He tried to extricate himself from the jam with the sixth batter, Yoon Hyung-jun, but was hit by a slider and gave up a two-run double to left. It would prove to be the difference in the game.
Choi Won-jun came in for the fourth inning, but it was a no-brainer. After facing back-to-back hits, he was unable to retire the batters in the fourth inning, giving up back-to-back singles to Park Se-hyuk and Kim Joo-won. Lee Byung-hun came in to try to put out the fire, but it wasn’t enough. Son As-seop’s double allowed both runners to score and increased Choi Won-jun’s lead to seven runs.
Choi Won-jun’s struggles deepened Lee Seung-yeop’s concerns. He had hoped to revitalize the starting lineup with Choi as a constant, but his poor performance forced him to recalculate.